You may be a good cook, but sometimes it’s hard to know which oils or spices are truly the healthiest when it comes to making a dynamite meal. If you're still sautéing with olive oil or other vegetable oils, you aren’t taking your kitchen skills—and your diet—to the next level. The best part about including these foods in your meal prep is that you won’t be sacrificing flavor. Go on, give 'em a go.
It’s the only oil that remains stable at a high heat. While other options, like olive oil, offer tremendous health benefits as is, they can turn carcinogenic at high heats. Beyond that, a pile of research has built up coconut oil's benefits, which may include weight loss, better digestion, lower cholesterol, healthier skin, and increased immunity. Look for organic, unrefined, expeller-pressed coconut oil like Nutiva. It’s derived directly from organic coconuts with minimal processing or modification.
Whether you’ve heard of it or not, ghee should become a new staple in your kitchen. Now starting to gain traction in the world of wellness, ghee, aka clarified butter (which means it’s been stripped of water and milk solids), is traditionally used in Indian cuisine. It’s a great source of healthy fats and is also stable at high temperatures. It stimulates the production of stomach acid and also increases the absorption of nutrients. It’s been found to encourage healthy digestion as well. Use it in place of regular butter or oil.
If you’re looking for an easy way to cut calories from your diet, this is it. Sautéing with a few tablespoons of vegetable broth can subtract a couple of hundred calories from your day's total if you regularly cook with oil. Watch out for the sodium content in store-bought varieties and choose low-sodium options when possible.
A few shakes of this spice will not only boost your dishes’ flavor but research from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology suggests it will also fire up your metabolism. It’s also credited with boosting the immune system and is a great source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene, which helps prevent damage from free radicals.
Crush up some cloves and throw them into your next meal. Garlic has been found to boost immunity, is an incredible source of antioxidants, supports heart health by reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and also possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic breath aside, this herb is one potent superfood that you should always have on hand.
When you think of tahini you likely think of hummus. However, its uses go beyond the classic dip and should be explored a lot more in the kitchen. Tahini is a paste made from ground sesame seeds and is a rich source of minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s also a great source of calcium and is high in vitamins E and B. Use it to make a homemade salad dressing, mix it into a stir-fry, or even mash it up with some avocado.